08 March 2023

For a long time, I have thought about the existence of an almighty person or persons up above the stars. I mean, that just sounds like I am thinking about aliens but I am not. I mean, technically gods are kind of aliens. We don’t see them, we don’t hear from them physically, and we rarely have any solid proof that they exist. Then, why and how is this institution that we call faith still running so well?

Happy Holi, my dear reader. I hope you are well. I hope you all the best things that one could or should wish another human on a day like this. I wish there are some people out there, as I look through this channel gate of my mother’s house, wishing me the same. I wish that the gods above are listening to those wishes and thinking of letting me have some.

For a long time, I have thought about the existence of an almighty person or persons up above the stars. I mean, that just sounds like I am thinking about aliens but I am not. I mean, technically gods are kind of aliens. We don’t see them, we don’t hear from them physically, and we rarely have any solid proof that they exist. Then, why and how is this institution that we call faith still running so well? I mean, they have got all kinds of branches too. There is religion. There are cults. There is India which has somehow morphed into a religious cult in itself. In the West, we still got Christianity and Atheism, well, let’s not forget Yoga. True inclusion only happens when we include the slim waist girls with their perfect necklines, neon yoga mats, and the workout but very ethnic and exotic-looking headbands, chanting naa-maa-stay and saying how spiritual they have become. Then you have your witchcraft people. All kinds of covens and packs, and herds. You have the political parties, fighting about countries and who the land belongs to, giving reasons on national and international platforms. And it is all being done in the name of god. So, I will ask you again. What is god? Where is it?

As many of you are aware that I only write from my own experiences. Well, when it comes to god, I haven’t had the best luck. I do believe in him, her, or them, all of them. I do believe that there is someone out there or up there pulling the strings. I wake up at 4 AM every day. I brush my teeth while I try to shake off my depression listening to either Jazmine Sullivan or Lizzy Mcalpine. I know, right? They are both so different in their artistry, yet that is what I am doing these days. Then I make my way to the kitchen, and I warm a litre of water. I give a glass to my father. We will call him Kudesh (Ku means bad, and Desh means country in hindi; you can also think of him named after kuda, which means sheer garbage). Simultaneously, I start making my lunch, and I put on the new utensil on the stove to make him his morning tea. I look at the clock, it is almost 5 by now. Now, if it is a little cold, I switch on the geezer. Only for ten minutes, because in ten minutes Kudesh will probably shout, ye itni der se chala rakha h. Bijli ka bill nhi ata (switching it on for so long, do you even think of the elctricity bill I’ll be paying). Ten minutes. It is never more than ten minutes.

I make my lunch and I make his breakfast. I get the water, and I run downstairs. I close my doors and I get in my bathroom. I take off my clothes and wash my body. I wipe off the water and I shave my face. I look in the mirror and I fix my face. I put on my clothes and I get out to go to college. I come back home, and I make dinner. I eat my food and then I walk for twenty minutes.

And that is my day.

It is mundane and it is ordinary. 

It seems nice and it looks fine. Now, you won’t see any difficulties there. I don’t think it is difficult at all. Probably because I am used to it, but it is not that hard.

What is hard is the first ten minutes of every morning. What is hard is accepting the fact that I depend on the right album or the right song, or the right artist to make my day not sad. And 4 out of the seven days, probably even more, I fall apart in those ten minutes. 

Then this is what happens. I don’t get up at 4 am. Kudesh doesn’t get his water and his tea. Now that I have not done my morning service to him, I don’t have any right going up and making myself lunch. And if I am not allowed upstairs, I don’t get hot water. So my options become, cold water, or no shower, No shower, it is.

I shave. I always shave. Now, I don’t have hot water, you listen. So the shave is not going to be comfortable. It is going to require double or even triple attempts. But I will get it. I always get it. All the nicks and the cuts, I hide with the foundation, and the orange sticks and concealer, they will, and they always do, come back to haunt me the next day. But I carry on. There goes Monday. Tuesday. A Wednesday. Thursdays are nice. And finally Friday. By Saturday and Sunday, I am done. And I am exhausted. I have not done my research for my dissertation. I don’t have any real friends. And I hate myself so much because I spent another week doing literally nothing to improve my situation, and then in all that self-hatred and denial, I sleep or watch something on the OTT platforms to numb myself because hating myself is not the option. 

I start out with something sexy, some good nice rom-com stuff. Then I move on to either Hannibal or The Big Bang Theory. Again, I KNOW!!! I am weird. Eventually, I will end up watching an episode of Mom with Anna Faris and Alison Janney, and that will remind me to get my own butt to a meeting because by this time I am sweetly reminiscing about the time when I had drugs and sex in my life. And no ma’am. We can’t go down that rabbit hole, so I get to a meeting.

I share. I force myself to share. I SPEAK ABOUT WHAT’S TROUBLING ME, MI PADRE, MI HERAMNO, MY DEAD MAA, THE SOCIETY, THE PATRIARCHY, TRANSPHOBIC WOMEN FOR MY TEACHERS, MEN WHO ARE ALL PIGS, and then I will see my own faults. I will admit them. I will begin a new day. I will begin a new week. I might do good, and I might slip and fall. But I will get up and I will do it all over again.

Do you know why? Because sometimes, surviving is not about falling into that deep well of despair. It is not about the depression, the anxiety, the sleepless nights, the dead parents, the addict siblings, or the parent you wish would die. It is about that same faith that those political parties, those cults, those yoga-slaying girls, those witches, and all those hypocritical men preach about. My faith looks different than theirs. My faith compels me to sing hymns and worship songs in the mornings, and light a diya in front of my mother’s photo in the evenings. I say my mother’s prayers too. I sing jai ganesh jai ganesh, and I sing jai sarawati namo var de. That’s what she sang, and that is what I sing. I beg forgiveness for being sad and I feel happy when I do that. In those few moments, I feel happy, because I don’t feel alone. Then, I get back to dinner, and there is that. 

My survival is not always about doing double the work to show that I am working hard. Sometimes, it is. But sometimes, it is just getting up and doing the next right thing. One thing at a time. One day at a time. Sometimes it is about having the most mundane, and quite frankly THE MOST BORING CONVERSATIONS about bags and boys with all the rich girls I go to school with. Sometimes, it is about talking to a complete stranger in your department, because that will allow you to not talk to the fake legendary friends who told you that you can always call them, talk to them, because they understand.

And sometimes, it is simply about crushing on a guy who is nice enough because you see him only once every other week, and well, he is that cute Spanish Teacher, who always calls you by your preferred name. That’s surviving for me. That is faith for me. And right now it is what’s keeping me afloat.

26 February 2023

We all fantasize, right? We fantasize about things, people, toys, kinks, death, life, habits, etc. You hate things, you hate people, you hate yourself for wanting these things, but you don’t stop to think why do I want this? Why do I like this, or why do I only want that exact person? And sometimes when you do want something or you do think about why you want a thing you never wanted in your previous life in your past, you can’t stop spiralling.

My dear reader, I hope you are well today. I hope you are feeling joy. I feel joy. At least in a little way. I am sitting at this table with the sunshine on my face, and it is warm and irritating, but I feel joy. 

I was talking to a friend last night after dinner. I was walking on my father’s roof, and I was looking at all the pink flowers on these little plants my mother planted almost four years ago, and I was trying not to sleep. My doctor has told me I can’t go directly to sleep after I eat, and stupid me, I am like listening to this dumb but sane advice these days, you know to not end up in the ER again. So, I decided to call a friend who could keep me up with some banter. I bantered, and she listened. Let’s call her Amelia.

Our conversation started on some topics of me feeling ecstatic about the fact that my father’s nephew finally left this house, and how I am feeling so damn happy that I don’t have to wait around on another addict or an egomaniac of a man. I mean, I literally have two of them permanently in my father and my brother, or at least for the next few months, and I don’t need more. So, we were like talking and talking, and suddenly I remembered this thing this other girl in class had said about my friend. We’ll call her Lyla.

A week or so ago, our last class had just finished. And naturally, when you are in a class of forty-six women (there is a guy too, not to discount him) you grow to say goodbye to people, and you learn to automatically get to the ladies’ room and find your way amongst these young women to a mirror to fix your face or adjust your bra (not that I wear one, and thank god for that). You do these things out of habit. So, there I was, standing in front of one of those mirrors, adjusting my face mask, adjusting my kurti, adjusting Esther (my humble pouch of a tummy that I named after a beautiful witch in one of my favourite vampire tv shows, and I am fully aware of the dramatics here, so like shut up), and my shoulders. I said my goodbyes, I smiled my smiles behind my mask, conversing with just my eyes the sentiments of those smiles, and exited the room. Amelia was exiting one of the faculty’s cabins and hurriedly looked my way and I waved her a farewell with my hand. Another girl, Lyla, had come out of the washroom, with her group of friends, so I waited a minute with them to do the usual chat about the hair or the eyeliner, or make a sex joke, as that has become one of the only things people talk to me about or think of me being associated with. I have given up on breaking the stereotype, so I just play along and laugh a little and go my merry way. 

Lyla noticed Amelia rush down the stairs and she lost herself for a second looking in my friend’s exited direction. A hint of melancholia had settled on her face and she turned around and said to me wistfully, it must be so lonely for Amelia, to not have friends naa. 

I was taken aback for a moment. I thought of myself as a friend to Amelia. She is very beautiful. She has this clear skin that doesn’t require makeup to shine. The girl washes her face with the water provided in the washrooms at Amity, Noida. If that doesn’t say ballsy, I don’t know what will. She has also recently started complaining about these invisible breakouts that I don’t care for. She is so pretty. She has got a nonchalant way of coming in and going out of random conversations; people are never offended by it, and I am pretty sure they all like her. I mean there is this one girl who once told me how she hates Amelia’s way of being chill and well-liked all the time, but then that girl hates everyone, including herself, and makes it a point in every conversation, about how it is the society that has wronged her, so meh, her opinion doesn’t really matter. 

But, when Lyla mentioned Amelia being friendless, it got me thinking about myself. I don’t think I could call people my friends here. Like not that I don’t have friends or the people in my class or uni aren’t my friends. It just means that I don’t know them all like an actual friend yet. I don’t think I know myself yet. These people we go to school with, get coffee with, in a canteen, or in un café, depending on whose daddy is paying, I really don’t know them like that. Sometimes I feel envious of the girls who wait for each other at the gates or in washrooms, or the ones who would only enter together, even if that makes them late to class. Amelia and I aren’t like that. I don’t know what that feels like, to have that much of a person’s life be linked to yours, even if it is just platonically. I am pretty sure if I asked her about this Amelia would say something like Harshi I don’t care. I don’t need that. You don’t need that. Good for them, but that is them, and this is us. Well, at least that’s who I am. Tu apna khud dekh le.

She is quite simply her own person. She has her priorities straight. Sometimes that could come off as rude or cold, but it doesn’t matter to her. Me? I am a little differently wired. I like people. And I like when they like me. I don’t necessarily demand it of them but it does feel nice to be liked, doesn’t it? Even Karen smiles every time we see each other. I also smile back. I mean, it is what it is. We are all these little freaks in our own ways, and it would be so much nicer if people liked and appreciated that about each other. 

Amelia asked me if our conversation might make it to today’s blog when we were approaching the end of our conversation. I am glad she did. Now, it is here. I hope this wasn’t a breach of our friendship, my dear Amelia. I genuinely feel joy when we talk and I hope it is mutual. And I hope, you feel joy, my dearest reader. I hope this week’s entry wasn’t as gloomy as my other entries. I am growing, I think. 

A lot of my Queer friends have recently started on this Hinge app. They are all on there, matching and going on dates. I tried thinking about it yesterday. My father has recently cut off my wifi, so I don’t know if I want to waste my precious 1.5 GB a day mobile data on an app commenting on people’s profiles or sending them messages to keep them interested enough in my tired and restless posterior. I had conversations with two guys this past week.

One of them was from my past, kind of like my first crush. The other one was this cute button I had met during a nice project I did for a national cause. Yeah, she doin it out here. Both of the conversations were similar in their ways and a little different. Similar, because it sealed my fate in those relationships as nothing but platonic. And platonic here simply means they can’t reciprocate what I felt or feel. The old crush chapter closed and I am glad it did. That relationship wasn’t exactly healthy when it existed in my previous life. So, now that the boy I had a crush on has morphed into a not-so-attractive version of a working man with no sense of his life or future, I am glad that I don’t like him like that no more. I mean, can you imagine? Me with one sad-ass penis man with no sense of humour or a decent understanding of grammar in any language? No Fank You. (She said thank you with a mild English accent).

The other guy is chill. He is nice and has symmetrically aligned facial features, which I am realizing is like a certain type for me, but with him, I think there was just this fantasy attached. I fantasize about these knights in their shining armour a lot these days. Sometimes it helps with my depression, sometimes it just contributes to it. So, I am glad that is also done. I don’t need men. I don’t know if I even still like them, let’s check back in two years on my lesbianism. I need money right now. I need a safe place to live. I need air to breathe.

We never know when we start healing. When you face a loss of a parent, a best friend, a boyfriend, or well, anyone, you don’t exactly wake up one day and see a difference. You don’t just go hey I feel real nice today like today is the day I get my shitty life together… Like that doesn’t happen. I wished that so hard for so long. I think I still wish it sometimes. So I hope I notice when it happens, but more than that, I hope it happens. Au revoir, dearest reader. Till next time.

5 February 2023

It happened again
My face and his fist
They met again.

What had i asked,
Let me think.
A doctor and a bed, yes.
That’s what pushed him off the brink.

You say you want what’s best for me,
You say you always thought me and my brother the same,
But does the bruise on my face looks the same as the smile on his face?
Does his hands shake the same way like my hands?

I run.
I fetch.
I blink because he asked
I smile and i laugh,
I tell them, yeah he is the best
I tell them I’m fine, all because he makes me lie.

My feet can’t stop moving
My stomach can’t stop turning
Hands cold, face warm
The flu is coming.

In a land far off, i see her face
In a land far off, i see her smile.
In a land far off, i hate her face
In a land far off, i hate her smile.

I’m sitting in her kitchen
I’m cooking on her stove
One hand holding my stomach, one hand stirring the soup.
Tomato, onion and garlic-
That’s all i could find.
That’s all she left behind.

She used to say he’s the man
He is the Malik
Mera Malik
Tera Malik
Ghar ka malik
Yeah he is the man.

He walks where he wants to
He talks to people i talk to
He smiles in front of them
All to make it seem real.

I don’t think I’m real.
I smile
I also talk to people.
My friends know me, i think
I don’t know if they’re my friends
My hopes and dreams in that sink.

My hate grows by the day
My love reaches its end.
People say you’re so strong
I tell them you’re wrong.

Strength lies in the sea
Strength lies in the waves.
I am the sand
Slowly moving with the wind into the graves.

There’s more the one.
A grave for my courage
A grave for my thesis
A grave for sight of future
And a grave for my mother’s kiss.

That kiss raised me.
That kiss showed me
The love, the opportunity
The tomorrow and the day after
What duplicity!

I went to the doctor
How should I trust him?
He refused my hand
He refused my opinion.
He listens to the brother
He laughs with the brother
I don’t trust him.

He is your brother, my father said
He is my cousin, it’s not the same
I do have a brother
He is happy

He laughs
He runs
Not because he has to
But because he wants to
A little Weed will do that to you.

I don’t do weed no more.
I face my life with grace and dignity
I look for the serenity
Two years sober
What a load of shit.

The soup is done.
My feet are still cold
My hands are still shaking
I look off the cliff
But no! It’s not as compelling.

I look down the edge
Peace and quiet.
I look back out in the kitchen
Chaos and pain.
I choose this.

I choose life.
If i die it will be him or destiny
Not my own choice.
I will run.
I will fetch.
And one day i will leave him for death.

In a land nearer, i see you, mother
You still smile and reach out
your feet aren’t letting you
So you smile and say
Revenge looks good on you.

28 January 2023

The reason I am writing today is quite unclear to me. I don’t have an agenda or a simple topic today. I do not have any inspiration as well, I seem to have run out of ideas. While I do appreciate your candour and support, my dearest reader, there is a chance you are reading this space on the promise of a sassy and fun-filled recount of a time I met another Karen, or perhaps even a bickering Becky. But I am, in the simplest of terms, sad today.

I have a life that gives me enough to be sad about, but I can’t put my finger on the reason what particularly is the reason for my sadness today. I woke up on the good side of the bed. I watched the new Teen Wolf movie, and despite its known lack of serious and thought-provoking content, it delivered me to a satisfactory enough orgasmic bliss by the end. So, you could possibly understand my confusion about this sudden burst of melancholia that has sprung out of nowhere.

As I chew on these three nine months old almonds in my mouth, I start on a quest. A quest of uncovering the roots of my desolation. The first thing that comes to mind is the room. This room that I am sitting in. This table. The table that my mother bought me three months before she died. This laptop, I got this on the day I registered for a creative writing course at the British Council, in 2019, if I remember correctly. My mom bought that too. She took up the money from her self-help group, or as the ladies in this country say, committee se uthae the. 

I am sensing a pattern here. My mom. I think I miss my mom. The noon I spent on the roof of this house today was quite contributing to my mood. I sat up there trying to read this book that I have selected to write my dissertation on, though all I could do, while I read a nationalist’s account of a woman he loved and how he could save her, was write with these big white-cement residue that had over time transformed into chalk. I was writing in Hindi, which took me by surprise, not because it was a miracle that I still remembered the letters, but because of the words I had chosen. The words weren’t Hindi, they were Urdu. QAATIL, I wrote. KHOONI, followed next. 

I won’t go into the details to decode those words. It probably had something to do with my mother and her husband not having the most peaceful marriage and the ways in which he, over the years, slowly and steadily snuffed the light from her eyes. The normal teenage years, I am sure you all can relate to. Though I do have some concerns about the things that followed. 

As soon as I wrote the words down in big, bold, and clear lexicons of Hindi and English, a devastating fear flashed before my eyes. He had a voice. My fear was male. Darr, he was called. He asked, ‘are you crazy what if he sees it and decides to throw a bigger kadhai at your face? How will you explain that bruise, haan?’

I did not reply. I complied. I do that these days. In my last two years of living with alcoholics and drug-addicted egomaniac men, I have acquired a pearl of great wisdom- it is easier to comply most of the time. I think it is so much easier to temporarily silence the voice inside me that says no this is wrong I hate this I am not your slave than to let the voice of natural subservience spring out of sheer helplessness. I don’t want this phase of my life to be my life. The natural subservience will never be the root of my behaviour. I will let that inner strength out sometime. I know I will get out. I will have an actual life. Do you want to know what that life looks like?

Well, like all the good old fairy tales, there is a house. There is also a white picket fence. It could very well be a terrace balcony on the twentieth floor of an apartment either on Fifth or Park avenue, we can settle on Madison too. We’ll see. So, there’s the house. There is a table on that terrace, or the yard, whatever I end up on. There is a swing. There is a porch. There is grass. There is the flickering light of a bulb I forgot to change. There is the moon. There is a clear blue, and black in the night sky. There is tea. There is the twenty-year sobriety chip with the same words on my two-year chip god grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference right next to my ninth book that came out recently and has already been selected in the Oprah Book club. Yes, Oprah is still around and kicking like the badass queen she is now.

What I don’t see is a man. Or a woman. I don’t see any children. I don’t see any household noise. Hell, I don’t even see a cat. That is not my dream. My dream when my mom was alive, used to be of a husband who looked like harry styles, sang like him, flirted like him, and yet chose to be mine based on the fact that he loved me and on the brilliant miraculous grace of god that I loved him back. There were children. The house was full of noise and chaos. The flickering light bulb was long gone, in its place was half chewed teddy bear which meant that after ten years of marriage and five migraine-giving yet somewhat decent children, there was yet another toddler in the house.

Perhaps my current person does not want the chaos and the joy of the older dream. But I am also scared of the isolated solitude of the current dream. I am wistful. I am sad. And most of all, I think I am still grieving. They don’t tell you the magnificent scope of grief when you lose the person you lose. I bought this book titled, It’s okay to not be okay, an account of this psychologist woman when she lost her husband. He drowned right in front of her, as she was stuck in her own situation. I thought, well, here is this person. She lost someone. Tragically so too, I mean if she could get out of it and then go on to write about it, maybe reading about her experience might help me too. I know what you are thinking. You are like dude, her and your loss are different, like bruh wtf?  But gworrrl, I was so fucking out of mind and in so much pain that I thought, at that time, this was the best thing ever. I so desperately wanted someone to come and pick me up, and tell me everything was gonna be alright. I wanted a saviour. Little did I know that saviour would eventually be me, and I don’t think I am doing a good job. I started the book with all kinds of hopes and aspirations, like yeah this is gonna be good I am gonna be like totally not sad after this. Needless to say, that did not happen. I did not finish the book. Her experience and observations were spot on, but I simply was not in the headspace to read about anything. Maybe I will give it another go one of these days. I am technically older and hopefully wiser.

But right now, I am going to wash my face off. I am going to go drink a glass of water, maybe two. And then I am gonna send this out. I hope this sudden stream of consciousness doesn’t scare you off, my dearest reader. Maybe I will be happy with the next blog post. Till then, I hope you the best of health and some deeply satisfying orgasms. Au revoir!